the girl behind the counter

from the outside looking in

I watched through the window as she stood behind the counter, always moving,

grabbing sandwiches, putting them in bags,

fixing drinks and grabbing the right-sized lid first try

(something I never seem to be able to do)

she was all about the job

and the customer

the ones who saw her as the final step between

them and their supper

 

did they see her tired eyes?

did they welcome the gift of her smile?

did they see more than an employee in front of them?

did they see the girl?

 

the girl, the young woman,

who works each night to pay for gas and classes and books

who, tomorrow morning, will rise before the sun is up

and drive to the campus

of the college she chose and loves

 

she and her team will practice

teamwork and footwork and laugh and play hard

preparing for Saturday’s big game

later she will go to classes and listen and take notes,

holding back a yawn,

leftovers from a long night of working

and a later night of studying

 

after class there’s the paper to write

and the mid-term to prepare for

friends to meet and share notes with

research to do in the library

 

before she makes the drive back home

to change and get ready to work

to cook our suppers and serve with a smile

 

this young woman,

who works so she can learn

and get the education that will give her a head start

as she prepares for a life on her own

 

this young woman whose diploma one day

will make her smile

and bring back memories and all the stories

and just might smell faintly of chicken sandwiches and fries

and hard work

and service with a smile

 

and she will go places

not because of the diploma

but because of the drive that earned her

that piece of paper

and so much more

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all respect, to the adults in my child’s life

Disclaimer: I have had a headache today, and I really did need a nap.  Alas, it did not happen.  So I apologize for the following.  Maybe. NOTE: Filter broken.

Dear Adults in my child’s life,

Here lately I’ve been thinking on some situations that have left me shaking my head.  As I listen to my teenager tell me what’s happened, and she asks, “Why?” or “How?” I struggle to find an answer to give her about these folks who are grownup and making these choices.

Fo the times you let things get out of hand when you are in charge, let her peers rattle her cage and wait to stop it, thank you.  She now knows where you stand, as do I.  We know better now.

Thank you for saying, “Well she never calls me.”  YOU never call her.  And who is the grownup here?  (Oh, that’s right, it may very well be her. Hmmmm.) The same goes with complaining that she never comes to see you.  Do you come see her?

And to the grownups that see her and then ignore her, but make sure you each see her–yes, there have been awkward moments in your relationship, but sitting and whispering and pointing and NEVER speaking? Yeah, that didn’t make things more awkward at all.

If you promise to do something, I’d suggest you do it.  Or have a phenomenal reason why you didn’t. She’s written folks off for less than that.  Just FYI.

And finally to those who label today’s teenagers the “instant gratification” generation while complaining that the wifi is too slow or that the drive-thru line is too long, ummm, well, you’re on your own.

Here’s the thing, I am tired of people knocking teenagers and complaining about how they are.  I know quite a few, and most of them I think pretty highly of.  I know young adults with integrity and a great sense of humor, who take time to serve and help others; not because their schools require a paper signed saying they’ve “served” so many hours, but because they really, genuinely care.  I know teenagers who choose to spend their time with people who are homeless, with young children in need, who travel on their school breaks to serve folks in another country.  These “kids” don’t need role models.  They ARE role models.

But for those who could use someone to watch, someone to guide them, here’s a thought.  Could we, AS ADULTS, check our behavior and make sure it’s role model worthy?  I’m looking in the mirror as I say this as well.  I need some polishing, quite a bit actually.   I just think we are all a bit hypocritical when we say, “I wish they’d act more adult-like…..I wish he’d grow up…..Why isn’t she being more mature?”  From what I’ve seen up close and personal and in the media, I think that young people may be out of luck.  We’re bickering over who’s right, who’s wrong, what other people should do or say and how they should live.  We tell young people to get things done, and then we spend hours in front of all kinds of foolishness on the computer, our laptops, our smart phones.  (Oh boy, that one hurt, Tara! I say to myself. I know, I know) We are so busy pointing fingers or staring at screens that we forget who is watching us.

In the past few weeks, I have seen more behavior from ADULTS that I don’t want my children emulating.  I don’t want my children to judge others.  I want them to be okay with being the first to forgive and offer grace.  I want them to have their priorities straight.  I want them to continue to grow and learn.  I want them to love all, and do love.  That’s the bottom line–I want them to grow and to love.

The irises brightening our days and our spirits

The irises brightening our days and our spirits

This week our yard has been graced by these beautiful irises.  These are from some bulbs I found on clearance at Wal-Mart at the end of the season a few years back, and I let my little bitty ones plant them.  Pretty much, they dug, and they threw them in some not very deep holes.  The whole thing was, quite honestly, not very intentional.  However, look at them!  Each year, just when I’ve almost forgotten about them, they burst out with the most beautiful blossoms.  And what a sight to behold!

I think that it is important for me to remember that my behavior and attitude are like those bulbs.  I may not be putting an example out there intentionally, but I am planting a bulb.  It may stay in the ground for quite a while, but eventually, that thing’s gonna grow.  And because I want to grow beauty and grace in the world, I’d better be real careful about what I’m dropping into the soil of their souls.  Because whether I intend to plant it or not, if I drop it, eventually it will grow.

Thank you for sticking with me through my headache-induced rant.  Tonight I give thanks for those adults who ARE planting beautiful bulbs of love and grace with my children.  Those who are careful with their words, those who encourage and empower our children to help and to shine brighter.  I am thankful for those who are patient and listen, and who give the most precious gifts of time and respect.  You may not see the beauty come to full fruition any time in the near future, but know that one day, it will, and I thank you for that.